Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech in Gloucester
Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell
An open letter from Gloucester Citizen Kathryn Goodick, with a response from Enduring Gloucester Board Member James Tarantino:
 
 
 
To the Citizens of Gloucester:
 
Following  the “sticker shock” we received with the most recent real estate taxes, many residents came to the Jan 24City Council meeting, during which we had requested to speak about the $2.6 million shift in debt services to the residents.  Mayor Theken’s team opened the meeting with a presentation from CFO Jim Destino  and Nancy P  who provided a  44 minute presentation that even Stephen Hawking couldn’t follow.  The presentation focused on how real estate properties are  assessed, how real estate tax bills have two estimate and two actual tax bills, and some examples of the effects on homeowners which was nice information to hear but had nothing to do with the shift in debt services.

When it was our turn to speak, we were told we had the same 44 minutes to speak and Amanda Kesterson began the speeches for the public.  However, Mr. McGeary stopped Amanda after less than 2 minutes into her speech to challenge her and all of us on what we could and couldn’t speak of.  It was offensive to have the President of the City Council arguing with a resident who was being respectful and had a well written speech to present. Then a 10 minute debate among the city councilors ensued so he could bully the other councilors to censure what we, the public, could discuss – which ultimately was taken to a vote!   Wasn’t this the purpose of holding a separate public hearing so that the public that was blindsided by outrageous property tax invoices to speak about our concerns?  The behavior of Mr. McGeary was extremely unprofessional and should not be allowed for someone in his elected position.  What is further appalling is that  the restrictions he tried to handcuff the public with, were not the same guidelines that Mayor Theken’s team was held to.   In the end, the council voted against McGeary and Lundberg and allowed the public to speak.

Mr. McGeary needs to understand that he works for us, he was voted in by the residents to serve us and work for us.  His unprofessional bullying of Amanda Orlando Kesterson was a disgusting display on the part of an elected official and should not be allowed.  I certainly hope that the general public will remember this come the November elections and vote this out of touch pompous man out of office!!

 
The presentation did NOT answer the real questions that still should be answered to explain to the residents the breakdown of the $2.5 million shift in debt – what does this expense break down to, why did the council vote for the most expensive plan proposed and shoved it down the throats of the residents,  why wasn’t the cost spread out to a more reasonable length of time rather than just two quarters which would not have been as disruptive to the financial budgets of so many residents.  As our group has discovered, the bigger picture is that the city budgets are out of control and have ballooned to an astronomical amount that needs to be reined in.  

Although Mr. Ciolino and Mr. Verga voted to stop the insanity of the bully by allowing us to speak, the meeting was a futile demonstration of the lack of democracy plaguing this city. We were not allowed to have a meaningful dialogue of any kind with the council.  We all worked very hard to produce the information, prepared our speeches and tried to work with the city council to no avail.  What are the next steps?  Nothing was told to us, and I for one was left with the feeling that they were hoping that we would just walk away and never to be seen again despite his comments to come to more meetings including budget meetings (although we were told we couldn’t speak at!!).

The ranting of Paul McGeary highlight his “true colors”, that he has no regards for the constituents who voted him into office,  and he appears to believe that he has the power of Captain Marvel as he pontificated to the residents who remained until the 11 p.m.conclusion of the public hearing.  He indicated that he was happy with the vote to shift the debt to the residents, compared the increase amount to that of a cable bill, and more shocking, he was “gleeful” in stating that he plans on voting again to shift another $2.5 million to the tax payers in the FY2016 budget .  Again, his conclusion speech to us was very immature, condescending  and left me feeling like Kevin Bacon from the movie Animal House….”Thank you sir, may I have another”.

 So I am forewarning Gloucester residents, please line up, bend over, and get ready for the City Council and Paul McGeary to slap you with another outrageous “debt shift”  and remember to recite “Thank you sir, may I have another (property tax increase!)”.


We are not going away but we sure hope that he does!

 
Kathryn Goodick
Gloucester
From James Tarantino:
Sound familiar?
 
She describes, to a t, the exact way so many of us felt before WE were bullied out of City Hall with the feeling, “Why waste our time ?”  Mission accomplished. It now strikes me that is the obvious intent of these well-planned, social engineered “Public meetings”:
 
1.)  Start with a long, confusing speech that will confuse and exhaust citizens. Some may leave disgusted. Some may leave because they have to work in the morning. Those who endure will be in the proper state to accept the next treatment.
 
2.) Bully and belittle anyone who opposes what you are forcing on them. This will not only intimidate the speaker but sends a loud, clear message to others: You will be punished for expressing your concerns. You will be made to look foolish and your concerns will NOT be addressed….next?
 
3.) Anyone who endures all this abuse must be addressed before they leave, “Make no mistake, this City Administration is not interested in the concerns or well-being of its citizens. There is a gentrification in process and nothing you do or say is going to change that. Their message to us (their constituents.) is:  “You can’t afford to live here? MOVE!”

Aquaculture

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Does Gloucester Need Aquaculture?

aquaculture diagramSome say YES:

from the Boston Globe, Dec 3, 2014

The Future of Gloucester Could be in Biotech

Shirley Leung

“Serial entrepreneur Greg Verdine, Eastern Point,  is … exploring the idea of Gloucester raising its own fish. Over the summer, he and (former mayor Carolyn) Kirk visited fish farms in Japan. The types of species that could thrive in Gloucester Harbor will depend on the water temperature, and a team from Japan will come in the spring to help sort that out. …

‘It’s opening another channel to bring fish across the docks of Gloucester,’ said Kirk.”

Some say NO:

Ann (Parco) Molloy is director of marketing and sales at Gloucester’s Neptune’s Harvest, makers of organic fish fertilizer since 1986. The company depends on the by-product of high quality local fish to make its very effective and popular organic fertilizer. She has a few things to say about aquaculture:

“Farm-raised fish are not healthy fish. They are raised in pens where they can’t swim in the wild, so they become weak and sick. They are routinely fed on genetically-modified soy feed which results in questionable nutritional value of the fish itself, and when they inevitably get sick, they are fed antibiotics.

Any genetically modified Farmed Fish, raised in pens, have the chance of escaping into the wild, where they can cross-breed with local wild fish,risking the local wild stocks. When the genomes are compromised like this, you could lose a wild species forever. “I wish people would stop thinking they can outsmart, and do things better, than Mother Nature. We have the best fishing grounds in the world. Why would we want to risk losing them, for any reason? Do they want to raise fish inshore and onshore so they can get the fishermen, who are the eyes and ears of the ocean, off of it? Then big corporations can have their way it, mining it, and extracting whatever they can from it? The oceans were meant to feed the world, not feed greed!”

I won’t eat farm-raised fish. It’s not nutritious at all, and can actually be bad for you. We won’t even use it for our fertilizer.”

 

Gin by Philip Levine (1928-2015)

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Corner Card Game (detail) Philip Reisman (1904-1992)

Gin

by Philip Levine (1928-2015)

The first time I drank gin
I thought it must be hair tonic.
My brother swiped the bottle
from a guy whose father owned
a drug store that sold booze
in those ancient, honorable days
when we acknowledged the stuff
was a drug. Three of us passed
the bottle around, each tasting
with disbelief. People paid
for this? People had to have
it, the way we had to have
the women we never got near.
(Actually they were girls, but
never mind, the important fact
was their impenetrability. )
Leo, the third foolish partner,
suggested my brother should have
swiped Canadian whiskey or brandy,
but Eddie defended his choice
on the grounds of the expressions
“gin house” and “gin lane,” both
of which indicated the preeminence
of gin in the world of drinking,
a world we were entering without
understanding how difficult
exit might be. Maybe the bliss
that came with drinking came
only after a certain period
of apprenticeship. Eddie likened
it to the holy man’s self-flagellation
to experience the fullness of faith.
(He was very well read for a kid
of fourteen in the public schools. )
So we dug in and passed the bottle
around a second time and then a third,
in the silence each of us expecting
some transformation. “You get used
to it,” Leo said. “You don’t
like it but you get used to it.”
I know now that brain cells
were dying for no earthly purpose,
that three boys were becoming
increasingly despiritualized
even as they took into themselves
these spirits, but I thought then
I was at last sharing the world
with the movie stars, that before
long I would be shaving because
I needed to, that hair would
sprout across the flat prairie
of my chest and plunge even
to my groin, that first girls
and then women would be drawn
to my qualities. Amazingly, later
some of this took place, but
first the bottle had to be
emptied, and then the three boys
had to empty themselves of all
they had so painfully taken in
and by means even more painful
as they bowed by turns over
the eye of the toilet bowl
to discharge their shame. Ahead
lay cigarettes, the futility
of guaranteed programs of
exercise, the elaborate lies
of conquest no one believed,
forms of sexual torture and
rejection undreamed of. Ahead
lay our fifteenth birthdays,
acne, deodorants, crabs, salves,
butch haircuts, draft registration,
the military and political victories
of Dwight Eisenhower, who brought us
Richard Nixon with wife and dog.
Any wonder we tried gin

Philip Levine, one of the last working class poets in America, died on February 14 at his home in Fresno, CA. We post this poem in his memory.

 

 

Aquaculture

Does Gloucester Need Aquaculture?

Some say YES:
from the Boston Globe, Dec 3, 2014
The Future of Gloucester Could be in Biotech
Shirley Leung
 “Serial entrepreneur Greg Verdine, Eastern Point,  is … exploring the idea of Gloucester raising its own fish. Over the summer, he and (former mayor Carolyn) Kirk visited fish farms in Japan. The types of species that could thrive in Gloucester Harbor will depend on the water temperature, and a team from Japan will come in the spring to help sort that out. …
‘It’s opening another channel to bring fish across the docks of Gloucester,’ said Kirk.”
Some say NO:
Ann (Parco) Molloy is director of marketing and sales at Gloucester’s Neptune’s Harvest, makers of organic fish fertilizer since 1986. The company depends on the by-product of high quality local fish to make its very effective and popular organic fertilizer. She has a few things to say about aquaculture:
“Farm-raised fish are not healthy fish. They are raised in pens where they can’t swim in the wild, so they become weak and sick. They are routinely fed on genetically-modified soy feed which results in questionable nutritional value of the fish itself, and when they inevitably get sick, they are fed antibiotics. 
Any genetically modified Farmed Fish, raised in pens, have the chance of escaping into the wild, where they can cross-breed with local wild fish,risking the local wild stocks. When the genomes are compromised like this, you could lose a wild species forever. “I wish people would stop thinking they can outsmart, and do things better, than Mother Nature. We have the best fishing grounds in the world. Why would we want to risk losing them, for any reason? Do they want to raise fish inshore and onshore so they can get the fishermen, who are the eyes and ears of the ocean, off of it? Then big corporations can have their way it, mining it, and extracting whatever they can from it? The oceans were meant to feed the world, not feed greed!”
I won’t eat farm-raised fish. It’s not nutritious at all, and can actually be bad for you. We won’t even use it for our fertilizer.”
See how Nova Scotia is doing with its offshore fish-farming:

On Gloucester Harbor, by Thomas Welch

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On Gloucester Harbor

The Dory seems to nod with glee

as I stride down the dock with my oars

She, like me, knows she soon will be free

of the lines that bind to the shores

Captain Gus shouts a sharp morning greeting

from the “Captain Dominic’s” deck

In the cool, green shade under Fisherman’s Wharf

a Snow Egret cranes her neck

My awareness expands with every stroke of the oar

out of Harbor Cove I row

to be at Sea, away from the shore,

is a joy only Mariners know

The feel, taste and smell of the crisp salt air

The Wind has the Ocean seething

Me and the boat and the Sea all share

The waves rise and fall, Nature’s breathing

The whole harbor now has come alive

A breathtaking, un-scripted show

Chortling Eiders gather close, the Cormorants dive

Chasing Minnows and Mackerel below

Peter’s sons by the thousands, the finest kind,

have called this Harbor port home

All possessing the genuine character you’ll find

in a Homer painting or an Olson poem.

Set my course for the shore, another day ends

In my wake sunset’s captured in foam

Though I’m blessed on land with fine family and friends

My heart knows this Harbor’s my home.

d7c70-dorywharvey

Spearing Flounder. circa.1890 George Wainwright Harvey (1855-1930

 

Gloucester on National Public Radio

Did you hear this Gloucester story
 on National Public Radio? 

This story was heard across the country, via Boston radio station WGBH,  on  Feb 17, 2015

What do you think? Please add your comment below.

Note: The print version you see  here and the audio version of the story are not the same.

Click on the LISTEN button to hear the audio version, with the voices of former mayor Carolyn Kirk, Sheree Zizik, Valerie Nelson, and Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken.

Why Is The State Paying Millions To Subsidize A Gloucester Beach-Front Hotel?

The Birdseye plant, birthplace of the flash-freeze process, stood on a barrier beach in the center of “the Fort,” a historic neighborhood packed with marine industry in Gloucester, Mass. The new Beauport Hotel is rising – with the aid of state subsidies –
The Birdseye plant, birthplace of the flash-freeze process, stood on a barrier beach in the center of “the Fort,” a historic neighborhood packed with marine industry in Gloucester, Mass. The new Beauport Hotel is rising – with the aid of state subsidies – in its place, despite the fact that it’s likely to be under water sea levels rise as predicted.
Credit Lauren Owens / NECIR
On one of the grittiest stretches of the historic waterfront here, the peaks of the Beauport Hotel will soon rise above the truck noise and smell of fish. Yet when the last drop of water fills the rooftop swimming pool, the luxury hotel will be more than incongruous with the neighborhood theme. It will also stand as a challenge to even mild climate change predictions.
For the past century, storms during high tide have flooded this neighborhood. In the next century, a two-foot rise in sea level, projected by an international consortium of scientists, would put the hotel’s property line underwater.
Despite Massachusetts’ very public stance against development on beaches like this one, the state is providing $3 million for roadway and other improvements around the controversial Gloucester hotel development, an examination by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
The issue is starkly illustrated in Gloucester, but it is a story up and down U.S. seaboards: Regulators are pinched between development pressure and the desire to keep people and property safe from the steady rising of the sea.
“That has pushed regulators to be a little more lenient, particularly when you have a big money developer,” says Jessica Grannis, adaptation program manager for the Georgetown Climate Center, in Washington, D.C.
The $25 million, 96-room hotel is financed by Jim Davis, the billionaire chairman of New Balance, and is touted by proponents as a necessary addition to its gritty working waterfront in order to survive the economic fallout of drastic fishing limits.
The hope is to save the city’s ice plant and fish auction house by generating awareness and tax revenue from tourism.
Yet vocal opponents say given what is known about climate change, it is not prudent to build a grand hotel on a low-lying, flood-prone beach – and importantly, taxpayers should not be helping ensure it gets built.
The first line of defense
Between a metal fence and the concrete of the old Birdseye plant, sand dunes with native plants naturally rebuilt. The Beauport Hotel is being constructed on a specific type of barrier beach – one with an active dune system – that would make any building
Between a metal fence and the concrete of the old Birdseye plant, sand dunes with native plants naturally rebuilt. The Beauport Hotel is being constructed on a specific type of barrier beach – one with an active dune system – that would make any building a non-starter, based on Massachusetts law. But hotel construction is underway.
Credit Lauren Owens / NECIR
In Massachusetts, coastal municipalities largely control the zoning that directs development, and they have broad power to enforce the state’s environmental regulations.
But this dynamic is inherently a conflict of interest. A study from the University of Rhode Island found municipalities might not share a state’s environmental goals, while the University of Vermont concluded coastal tax revenue is enticing to local governments because property owners and federal taxpayers subsidize flood losses.
Gloucester has a track record of exercising questionable zoning authority. In 1996, the state overturned a city decision to allow a shopping mall in an area federally designated as a port. In 2008, a lawsuit brought by residents caused a developer to back out of a proposal to convert an old paint factory into condos—a project the city had approved within the city’s marine industrial zone.
Still, over the past decade, political momentum grew supporting gentrification of the abandoned Birdseye plant – the birthplace of flash freezing. It stood in the middle of “the Fort,” a historic neighborhood packed with marine industry and middle class homes, and bordered by a sandy public beach– a big draw for developers.
After Davis purchased Birdseye in 2011, says Valerie Nelson, a working-waterfront activist and former city councilor, “There was never a serious discussion about whether this was a good place for a hotel.”
Gloucester’s Mayor Carolyn Kirk disagrees, saying most of the city’s residents want the hotel to shore up the city’s property tax base.
“The hotel is the cake, the frosting and the ice cream,” Kirk says. “It’s the property tax, the meals tax, and the lodging tax.”
Nelson says local opposition to rezoning the Birdseye property – including a petition signed by more than 200 residents – was shut down by the City Council in 2012 when it voted to rezone before a full hearing of objections took place.
The missing sea rocket
Paul Godfrey, a retired University of Massachusetts Amherst professor and barrier beach expert, did a pro-bono study for opponents on the hotel’s environmental impact. He found that the waves during high tides and hurricanes hit dead center of the buildin
Paul Godfrey, a retired University of Massachusetts Amherst professor and barrier beach expert, did a pro-bono study for opponents on the hotel’s environmental impact. He found that the waves during high tides and hurricanes hit dead center of the building and contributed to beach erosion.
Credit Lauren Owens / NECIR
As the city and the state reviewed appeals to the hotel’s permits, Paul Godfrey, a retired professor from UMass Amherst and renowned barrier beach expert who has been a consultant to the US Department of the Interior, did a pro-bono study for opponents on the hotel’s environmental impact.
He found the unique shape of the harbor would focus a hurricane’s energy “dead center of the Birdseye building.” He also found that storm waves crashing into Birdseye and deflecting back had significantly eroded the beach.
Godfrey says climate predictions show these patterns will only worsen in time, and that the Beauport Hotel will likely be the first building on this street to be underwater. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sea levels worldwide are expected to rise between 1.7 to over 3 feet by 2100 as the oceans absorb most of the temperature rise from the release of heat-trapping gas from factories, cars and power plants.
“These things have been ignored,” says Godfrey. He was more blunt in a letter to the City Council in 2013: “Have the impacts of Hurricane Sandy had no effect on decisions made in Gloucester?”
The hotel’s development team contested Godfrey’s report, noting a planned new seawall protecting the building will be 20 feet farther from the ocean than the Birdseye building. They also said that the first floor will be raised above a parking area, higher than the federal government’s required height for coastal building.
Les Smith, the hotel’s coastal geologist, says there has been virtually no erosion on this beach for the past 100 years.
“You have to work with what you have and develop good designs based on good engineering,” says Smith.
Godfrey and opponents have claimed the hotel is being built on a specific type of barrier beach – one with an active dune system – that would make any building a non-starter, based on state law. But succulent, thick-leaved plants known as sea rockets – that only grow on barrier dunes – disappeared from the beach in front of the Birdseye site soon after Godfrey identified them in his 2013 report. Some hotel opponents considered it destruction of evidence.
Taxpayers on the hook?
The Birdseye plant in Gloucester, was torn down in the fall of 2014 to make way for a luxury hotel. The site has been inundated repeatedly by storms.
The Birdseye plant in Gloucester, was torn down in the fall of 2014 to make way for a luxury hotel. The site has been inundated repeatedly by storms.
Credit Lauren Owens / NECIR
In November 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection decided the Birdseye property and much of the Fort was once a barrier beach, but no longer.
“The dune form no longer changes in response to wind and waves because it is ‘locked-up’ beneath pavement and buildings,” the agency concluded. In other words, a developed barrier beach should not be regulated as a pristine barrier beach would be.
That determination conflicts with best-practice recommendations from the 1994 state Barrier Beach Task Force, which stated, developed or not, a barrier beach is a barrier beach: “This is an important point that should [not be] overlooked by barrier beach managers.”
As far back as 1980, the state recognized barrier beaches were risky investments. An executive order passed by then-Gov. Ed King – and which the Patrick Administration advised expanding – says the state should not funnel taxpayer money to encourage development on hazard-prone barrier beaches.
Yet that is what is happening in the case of the Beauport Hotel.
Businesses in the Fort say plumbing, drainage, and roads along this developed barrier beach are inadequate for commercial needs.
When the hotel proposal came through, Gloucester fast-tracked an infrastructure upgrade for the Fort, and secured a $3 million grant through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to do it. MassWorks supported the grant because the hotel was considered a job creator and spur to economic development.
Yet even the city’s director of public works says the new infrastructure – particularly new drainage pipes – won’t prevent flooding, because the Fort’s elevation is simply too low to fix.
Walking a fine line
Despite Massachusetts’ stance against development on barrier beaches like the one where this Birdseye plant stood for a century, the state is providing $3 million for roads and other improvements around the controversial hotel being built there.
Public officials – both elected and appointed – are in an awkward position on climate change.
“We essentially live on a different planet than the planet where these laws and regulatory systems were put in place,” says Seth Kaplan, vice president for climate policy at the Conservation Law Foundation.
Martin Suuberg, state undersecretary for energy and the environment, points to numerous actions Massachusetts is taking to meet the challenge of climate change. For example, the state is giving Gloucester $50,000 to identify its most vulnerable low-lying areas.
Suuberg said replacing the dilapidated Birdseye plant with the Beauport Hotel will be an environmental win-win. “In this particular case, this was a site with a lot of problems that [the Beauport Hotel], frankly, addresses,” says Suuberg.
Suuberg refused to answer questions about the $3 million state grant, which seems to be in violation of King’s executive order.
Yet a 2011 report from Suuberg’s office advises enforcing and expanding that executive order, known as 181. It also says existing rules do not go far enough to protect the coasts: “New construction and redevelopment are likely occurring in areas that will erode and flood within the lifespan of these projects.”
The New England Center for Investigative Reporting — an independent, nonprofit newsroom based out of Boston University and WGBH News.





from The Maximus Poems, III, 206, by Charles Olson

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Untitled. Stapleton Kearns (b.1952 )

from The Maximus Poems, III, 206

Full moon (staring out window, 5:30 A M March 4th
1969) staring in window   one-eyed white round clear
giant eyed snow-mound staring down on snow-
covered full blizzarded  earth after the
continuous 4 blizzards of February March   5 feet
of snow all over Cape Ann (starving
and my throat tight from madness of isolation &
inactivity, rested hungry empty mind all
gone away into the snow into the loneliness,
bitterness, resolvedlessness, even this big moon
doesn't warm me up, heat me up, is snow
itself (after this snow not a jot of food left
in this silly benighted house   all night long sleep
all day, when activity, & food, And persons)
5:30 A M hungry for every thing

~ Charles Olson (1910-1970)

Anastas and Buckles : Two Generations, Two Perspectives



POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 
BECAUSE OF SNOW AND PARKING ISSUES

‘Two generations, Two Perspectives’ 

Writers Center event features authors age 28, 77


BY GAIL MCCARTHY 

Two writers representing two generations of Gloucester natives a half century apart will talk about their recent work at an event at the Gloucester Writers Center.

The program is titled “Two Generations, Two Perspectives, TwoGloucesterWriters” featuring Casey Buckles, 28, and Peter Anastas, 77, both of whom will read from their novels about Gloucester on Wednesday Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Buckles’ book is titled “Plain of Ghosts,” while Anastas will read from his novel-in-progress “Nostalgia.” 



Casey Buckles, 28, will read from his novel about Gloucester during a program titled “Two Generations, Two Perspectives, Two Gloucester Writers” on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Gloucester Writers Center. 




Peter Anastas, 77, will read from his novel about Gloucester during a program titled “Two Generations, Two Perspectives, Two Gloucester Writers” on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Gloucester Writers Center. 


 

For starters, Anastas grew up in the nation’s oldest seaport when it had a thriving fishing industry that employed thousands of residents working at sea and in the shore-related businesses. 

Downsizing industry 

Buckles, on the other hand, grew up at a time when fishing was greatly downsized with the onslaught of government regulations, and when local drug abuse made recurrent headlines as it continues to do so today. His generation is also the first to compete in a global marketplace that’s seen U.S. jobs vanish overseas where the labor market is cheaper. 

A lifelong writer and columnist, Anastas holds degrees in English from Bowdoin College and Tufts University. He also studied Medieval Literature at the University of Florence, Italy. 

Commenting on the value of the young writer’s work coming as it does from his experience growing up in the heart of Gloucester, Anastas noted: ”The city has been the subject of a great deal of poetry and prose, of history and fiction; yet until the recent publication of Casey Buckles’ novel, ‘Plain of Ghosts,’ we have not had an account of what it feels like to come of age at this very moment in a community in dramatic transition.” 

’Locally crafted’ 

Buckle’s novel, he further noted, should be experienced as a “locally crafted and produced work of art.” 

The novel tells the story about the struggles of its main character, Noah, and his friends, as they attempt to make lives for themselves after high school, and while they may dance and drink in local bars and clubs, they are searching for deeper connections of love, companionship and the meaning of community, explained Anastas. 

”For Casey, the bleakness comes from the fact that he is looking at the lives of his generation in Gloucester. What do they have for work? What is in store for them if they stay here? In many ways Casey is a poet,” said Anastas. 

Buckles said this book grew out of years of note taking when he was attending school at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. 

”It was a lot of reflection that turned into what the book is now,” said Buckles, who studied philosophy, anthropology and English. 

Seaport issues 

In addition to Buckles’ reading, Anastas will read from his own work in progress, which is described as a post mortem investigation of how the city came to be what it is today. Anastas has cherished his life in Gloucester, though he too has critical views about the issues that face the seaport today. 

Anastas asked Buckles about what he sees as the future in Gloucester for his generation. 

”The world didn’t end when the Bird’s Eye fell, so there is still a future. Will it include my generation or any type of working waterfront? That will be easier to answer in retrospect,” wrote Buckles in response. “…For those who are here, spread over its 41.5 square miles, for however we live to survive, there is a future in this city.” 

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or via email at. 

Poem by Melissa de Haan Cummings

a73de-parade2b202142bdennis2bflavin

Parade 2014 Dennis Flavin

[huge slow flakes of snow float straight down]

huge slow flakes of snow float straight down

this windless morning

thick on the trucks

Joe and Dylan walk in it

Joe rolls snowpeople balls

Dylan flops down

for snow angels

first big fall of the season

check on the snow person

O it’s half the height

of the yellow slide!

Riley sits on his knees

on the fourth sphere

Dylan heaves snowballs at him

the three take off to find more snow

flakes thin supposed

to continue all day

the little snow person

has sticks for arms and fingers

both sport Patriots helmets

Dylan runs up the hill

stops surveys the guys

runs on

flakes thicken

a tiny avalanche

slides off the triangle

shaped boat cover

my black buddy told me

her kind is lazy

shiftless and

wears loose shoes

Game on!

Stop in Beverly

for hard boiled eggs

salt coffee and a hot

chicken sandwich

What’s up with the Pats scandal?

O everybody does it

The Pats got caught

What it is is

each team gets nine balls

They give them to the ref

Fifteen minutes before the game

the ref gives them the balls

So they could both

deflate their balls!

Yah.  They do

according to what

the quarterback wants

The balls have to be

between twelve and

thirteen pounds

Of pressure?

Yah

How come it isn’t

what the receiver wants?

It’s what the quarterback wants

Cape Ann Mites

defeat Marblehead Mites

six to four

but our goal keeper

chastised by

Coach Dad

for staying inside

the crease

is sulky

as well as

frustrated by

the four goals

Grampy said

he was so so

the Marblehead goalie

was pretty good

Is so so better

than pretty good?

Grampy remains Mum

Before sunset

snow becomes rain

helmets and heads

roll off snow bodies


Melissa de Haan Cummings
24 January 2015

melissa2bcummingsMelissa de Haan Cummings majored in French and English Literature at 
Bryn Mawr. She has published poetry in a number of journals. 
 She describes her interests as including, “much small boating around Cape
 Ann, love of Charles Olson, Hatha yoga practice since 1969.”
 

Gloucester Writes the Sea

 
Gloucester Writes the Sea
Peter Anastas
Joe Garland on his porch at Black Bess, Eastern Point, Gloucester, preparing for a visit with Sebastian Junger, 1998,
photo by Ernest Morin

 

Sitting out last week’s blizzard with a hot toddy and a good book, the distant roar of the Back Shore’s breakers in my ears, I began to think about the storms we’ve lived through, especially the Northeaster of 1991, known historically as The Perfect Storm.  This sent me to the bookcase for my copy of Sebastian Junger’s 1997 bestselling account of the storm and its impact on the city and our fishing families. 
I read the page proofs of The Perfect Stormin one sitting.  Replying to Junger’s publicist at W. W. Norton, who had sent them to the Book Store in Gloucester for pre-publication comment, I told her that I found the book “beautifully written.”  I said it gave “the flavor of Gloucester fishing life as lived by a segment of that community—-the bars, the drinking, the relationships formed out of bar life, the violence of that life, the losses.”  I went on to note that Junger had rendered this life “without judgment and with a precision of emotional detail.”
Eighteen years later I still feel the same way.  While the book has attracted an international readership and its ageless theme of men and women against the sea, of courage in the face of seemingly insuperable obstacles, is universal, its local focus is what still makes it memorable.
The Perfect Storm is a profoundly Gloucester book.  It tells a local story about indigenous people.  It evokes a time and a place in Gloucester’s history.  It is told with precision and candor.  And it doesn’t romanticize the maritime life or mythologize its participants.  Books about the sea often tend to do this, especially if they are fictive.  Melville’s notably did not; neither did Conrad’s or Richard Hughes’.
Closer to home, I find the stories of James B. Connolly, who wrote so prolifically about the lives of Gloucester fishermen, less easy to read than when I was younger.  In contrast, Joe Garland’s books have seemed to ripen with age, as I believe the republication of Lone Voyager in 2000 by Simon and Schuster amply demonstrates.  Connolly’s penchant for “salty” lingo over straight talk has reached the end of its shelf life, while Garland’s Yankee astringency still seems exactly right for its subject.
Yet Connolly, who wrote in The Book of the Gloucester Fishermen (1927) that he’d sailed with Gloucestermen “to the fishing banks, loafed with them ashore, sat with them in their homes,” set a standard for writing about the maritime life here that later writers had to measure up to, including Garland and Kim Bartlett, whose The Finest Kind (1977) is the best account we have of our Italian fleet.  Both succeeded, and beautifully.  As did Geoffrey Moorhouse, an English writer who moved to Gloucester in the 1970s, fished here, and produced his semi-fictional The Boat and the Town,(1979), which documents the pressures on the industry before the establishment of the 200 mile limit, while presenting Gloucester, in the author’s words, as “a paradigm of all the fishing communities in the world.”
These texts, whether he had read them or not, were the models that Sebastian Junger had to write The Perfect Stormagainst, if only in the minds of those natives who knew and lived them.
Are these books, including Junger’s, enough to create a local tradition of writing about the sea?  And is The Perfect Storm part of that company?  In each case, the author has either lived or spent significant time here.  Connolly and Garland had the deepest roots, though Bartlett worked as the Gloucester Times’ waterfront reporter and fished alongside of his subjects.  Junger lived here, too, emerging with a finer understanding of life ashore than many natives.
In 2010, John Morris, the grandson of a dory fisherman lost at sea, published what may well be the definitive history of dory fishing, Alone at Sea: Gloucester in the Age of Dorymen, 1623-1939.  Of this major contribution to Gloucester writing about the sea, Joe Garland wrote:
“John Morris is about to tell you all there is to be told about Gloucestermen and their wives and widows and fatherless kids, and ways of life, and of death by the thousands, of good times and of bad, in a masterpiece that’s been waiting for generations to be told.”
We are fortunate in Gloucester that as this community has evolved there have been people to document in gripping prose the extraordinary quality of its life, what it means, what we stand for, what we must preserve.  In Sebastian Junger’s words, “I love this town, and I really hope that the fishing industry recuperates because that’s the heart of this town.  It isn’t tourism.  It’s not light industry.  It’s fishing, and it would really be a tragedy if business by business, boat by boat, that gets chipped away.”
Junger said this in a 1998 Boston Globeinterview and his words are just as relevant today.  In fact, they speak to our condition even more powerfully.